Code of Ethics
Digital Bookkeeper Association
Updated: July 12, 2020
Commitment and acceptance of this Code of Ethics is required of each Member of the Digital Bookkeeper Association (DBA.)
The public look to us as reliable professionals. This means that we must do everything we can to keep up and bolster the public’s image of the bookkeeping profession.
This Code of Ethics, while important, cannot convey every ethical dilemma. It is up to you, the DBA Member, to always act with your client’s best interest over your own personal gain.
Adherence to this Code is required to remain a member in good standing with the DBA. Any violations of the Code is cause for immediate removal from the DBA and suspension of any credentials issued by the Association.
As a DBA Member, you must always be honest and candid in all business dealings.
Strong moral principles are the backbone of good business practices. Moral uprightness in all situations is critical to the public’s perception of the bookkeeping profession.
Having the character to do the right thing, even when that flies in the face of personal gain, is of utmost importance.
You must diligently adhere to technical and professional standards for the bookkeeping profession. As a DBA professional, you will be required to avoid unethical situations regardless of the consequences.
As a DBA Member, you must protect client information and keep it confidential. Clients place a lot of trust in bookkeeping professionals. As such, we must guard and protect their private information and keep it from the public’s eye.
Only through express, written permission from a client may you share sensitive information with interested third parties.
When on the fence as to what constitutes sensitive information, always default to keeping it confidential. Ask your client before sharing any information.
Like confidentiality, privacy is paramount to the profession. As a DBA Member, you must take every precaution to protect sensitive data both online and offline.
You must use best practices to protect your client, and yourself, from malicious attacks from outside forces. A written Cybersecurity policy is required to be maintained and kept current. Your Cybersecurity policy should be shared with your clients and any other party with whom sensitive data is maintained.
In the case of physical records, those should be protected under lock and key with controlled access. Client data should never be misplaced or out in the open where prying eyes can see
Before commencing any work, you must be confident in your ability to complete the work effectively. If you know that you do not have the technical knowledge, experience or skills to complete the task, then you must decline the engagement.
One of the hallmarks of the DBA Member is a lifelong commitment to continuing education. This increases competence and leads to a better service to the public. You must take the attitude of having excellence in all that you do. This is especially true when it comes to serving clients.
Along with competence comes duty of care. This means you are: watchful, attentive, and cautious in your work. Duty of care means acting with prudence like a reasonable and competent bookkeeping professional.
Internal Controls are the responsibility of the client’s management. However, as a DBA Member, you must never violate effective and efficient internal controls; even if your client does not have them in place.
Authority, responsibility and accountability are the three levels of controls. Quite simply, authority is about power. Who may authorize financial transactions and decisions? Authority may never rest on your shoulders when dealing with clients. The client, and / or a designated appointee (not you), are the only people who can authorize financial transactions.
Authority, responsibility and accountability are not to be given to the same individual. Segregation of these duties is the foundation of effective internal controls. As such, you should do everything in your power to support effective internal controls.
If you spot gaps in a client’s internal controls, you have the duty and responsibility to bring this to their attention. Oftentimes, gaps arise from a lack of knowledge and understanding as to the vulnerabilities afforded with these shortcomings. It is up to you to inform and educate your client when possible.
As a DBA Member, you cannot be influenced by your personal feelings or opinions when representing facts.
Objectivity means being free from conflicts; both perceived and actual. You must be impartial when it comes to serving your client’s and the public’s interests.
It goes without saying: any and all crimes are detrimental to the profession. As such, you should avoid any and all situations which are criminal.
In addition, you should ensure that you are never in a position to authorize funds to leave the financial accounts of any client. You should never be a signatory to any bank account or approve any payments from client bank accounts.
In addition, the following are acts discreditable to DBA Members:
- Acting without integrity
- Breaching confidentiality
- Violating privacy
- Taking work for which you do not have competence to complete
- Lack of implementing internal controls within client organizations
- Lacking objectivity
- Any other acts that would diminish the reputation the bookkeeping profession